What to Do if Your Homeowner’s Insurance is Cancelled

By Diane Tait

Image courtesy Pixabay

Now that another couple of named storms have reared their ugly heads, it’s more important than ever that your home is covered by insurance.  All it takes is one lightning strike or some windblown debris to turn a domicile into a mess.  The last thing you want is to have your property sustain severe damage only to find out your homeowner’s policy was cancelled.  What’s even worse is you only have a short amount of time to get your home covered before you face the consequences.  Before your mortgage is called in by your bank for lack of insurance, let me give you a few tips on how to deal with such a situation.

      1.        Why would your policy get cancelled? – An insurance company is a business like any other.  That means they only make money by having lots of people pay for their services.  No insurer wants to cancel a policy.  That being said, if the risk of carrying a policy outweighs the financial gain, you may get notified that your insurance is going to be cancelled or not renewed.  A few of the reasons an insurer may consider you a bad risk is due to several causes.  Number one is non-payment or a bad credit rating.  Number two is a policyholder who files too many claims.  A criminal record can also cause your policy to get dropped.  So too can adding items to your property that are considered high risk, such as acquiring a pit bull.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is it may simply be a matter of finding an insurance company that’s willing to overlook what some insurers will not.  That’s where an independent insurance agent can help you find coverage if you get dropped.

      2.      What else can cause a policy to be cancelled?  Other than non-payment or fraud, it’s unusual for an insurer to cancel a policy before the term of coverage is completed.  But there are a few issues that can get you in Dutch with your insurer.  If your home is vacant, this can cause your coverage to be dropped. If an insurance company finds out you lied on the insurance application, you can expect to get a letter stating that your policy is being discontinued and that you have 20-days to find other coverage.  

      3.      What’s the difference between a cancellation and non-renewal?   While either declaration means your coverage is going to be discontinued, in the case of non-renewal, the insurer is required to give policyholders 45-days notice.  Since every insurance company has its own set of underwriting guidelines, sometimes it’s simply a matter of finding an insurer that has guidelines that don’t exclude your property.    

      4.      Is the insurance company’s declaration the final word?  Not necessarily.  In fact, the first thing you should do if you get a notice of non-renewal or cancellation is to call your insurance company to find out if something can be worked out to keep your coverage in place.  If you missed a payment, it’s possible the insurer will overlook this provided you pay up and put your policy on autopay or pay every 6-months as opposed to monthly.  If the reason for cancellation was due to a vacant property, you may be able to get covered under a landlord policy.  In short, before you take a cancellation notification to heart, call to find out if there isn’t some way to work out the problem.

      5.      Is your insurance company discontinuing coverage due to geography?   If you live in Florida or California, you may find out that your insurance company has decided to cease selling their products in your area.  Since Florida is the hurricane capital of the country and California has major wildfires nearly every year, it should come as no surprise that some insurers have decided to stop providing coverage in high-risk locales.  If this happens to you, contact your agent to find an insurance company that’s still willing to offer coverage in your area.

Image courtesy Pixabay
      6.      How can you make it easier to find coverage?  Lifestyle is one thing that everyone has control over.  Whether it means removing risks like a vicious dog or a trampoline from your property to satisfy an insurer, there might be a way you can help make it easier to find coverage if you’re willing to adjust your lifestyle.  By providing concrete proof that you don’t represent a high-risk, you’ll find that not only is it easier for an insurer to say yes, but you could find the premiums you’re offered cost less as well.

      7.      How long can you expect to wait for a definitive answer from your insurer?  Since time is of the essence if an insurance company threatens to drop your coverage, you need to take corrective action as soon as possible.  If you want to plead your case, it can take days just to find the right person to review your situation.  Should your reinstatement still be refused, you can take it up with a manager.  However, this will take even more time.  The bottom line is if it looks as though there’s a chance you may still be denied coverage, the prudent thing to do is to have your insurance agent line up another insurance company before the clock runs out and you’re left with no coverage at all.

      8.      Can you play the loyalty card?  Depending on how long you’ve been with an insurer, you can try playing the loyalty card.  Point out how long you’ve been a loyal customer and how much you’ve paid in premiums over the years.  This plea is especially good if you have several insurance policies under the same company.  If you have your home, car, and business insured under one roof, this brings more leverage to bear since you can easily move these policies to another company if your homeowner’s insurance is dropped.

      9.      Can a home inspection get your homeowner’s policy dropped? Absolutely, if an inspector cites several deficiencies.  However, it my simply be a matter of repairing such things as an aging roof, leaky pipes or a fire hazard to get reinstated.

           10.  Is it time to pull the plug?  Since the best defense is a good offense, sometimes it’s better to find an insurance company who welcomes your business rather than fighting to keep paying an insurer who doesn’t want to do business with you.  That’s another reason you should have your agent review all your policies every year to make sure you get the best deal for your money.

Diane Tait owns and operates A&B Insurance.  To find out more about how you can save money on insurance, go to her site or fill out the form at right.

Comments

  1. Having your insurance canceled would be scary. These tips help a person find a way to fix that problem.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Please only leave comments related to the article you are posting under. Unrelated or spam posting will be deleted.

Popular posts from this blog

Is Pet Insurance Worth a Look?

How to Keep Summer Squalls from Wrecking Your Ride

Who Needs Cyber Security Insurance?